McFarland inducted into IA Hereford Hall of Fame

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Dec 3, 2008
McFarland inducted into IA Hereford Hall of Fame

 Dan McFarland, 75, of Fredericksburg, IA, the self proclaimed “unofficial historian of the Polled Hereford breed,” is this year’s inductee into the Iowa Hereford Hall of Fame. He was honored at the recent Iowa Hereford Breeders Association annual meeting in Welton, IA, and is a second generation Hall of Famer. His parents, Don and Dorothy McFarland, were Hall of Fame inductees in 1994. 

Dan and his father bought their first registered Polled Herefords in 1956 from Leigh Curran and Merv Christenson, a National Hall of Fame inductee. At its highest point in the late l970s, the McFarlands’ Polled Hereford herd numbered 150 cows. Dan still maintains a herd of 20 Polled Hereford cows along with 80 buffalo on a 500-acre Heritage Farm which has been in his family for over 150 years. He has no plans to retire.

The McFarlands first started showing Polled Herefords at the Hawkeye Polled Hereford Association in the early 1970s. Over the years, they had the State Fair Iowa champion, champion at the All Iowa Fair, and the champion cow/calf pair at the SOP Show at the Iowa State Fair. Also, in the 1970s, Dan was elected president and later sale manager of the Hawkeye Polled Hereford Association.

As a history major graduate of the University of Iowa, Dan has always had a deep and promoting interest in the history of Polled Herefords. An autographed photo from breed founder Bert Gammon hangs in the McFarland house.

While a national director on the American Polled Hereford Association (APHA) board from 1980-84, Dan began promoting the preservation of the Gammon Barn. By l984, he and others were successful in getting the birthplace of Polled Herefords (St. Mary’s, IA) declared a National Historic Site. Seven years later with the help of Orville Sweet, APHA, the State Fair board and many dedicated breeders, the Gammon Barn was moved to the State Fairgrounds, preserved and dedicated in 1991. Fittingly, Dan’s name has now been added to a plaque listing all Iowa Hall of Fame honorees that hangs in the Gammon Barn museum.

McFarland was a writer for the Polled Hereford Hub magazine. His five children were active showmen. Daughter Martha was a Polled Hereford queen and daughter Mary joined with Martha Atkinson Meyer and Missy Maurer Rau to win the senior division team marketing contest at the 1988 Junior National. A son, Ken, now flies helicopters in Iraq. —WLJ